KING COUNTY, Wash. — The King County Sheriffs Department is investigating a rape case involving someone posing as a ride-share driver.
It happened on Dec. 16, 2018 in White Center, and now police are asking for your help finding a person of interest in the case.
Detectives say a woman’s friends ordered her a ride sharing service from a bar on the 5100 block of Ballard Ave in Seattle, but the victim didn’t end up getting into the correct vehicle.
“She found multiple ride-share vehicles parked out front, so she started asking each of them if they were her ride share,” said Sgt. Ryan Abbott with The King County Sheriff’s Department. “One of the guys said ‘Oh yeah I’m your ride-share go ahead and get in.’”
However, it wasn’t a ride-share driver behind the wheel. The victim thought she was going home, but instead investigators say their person of interest pulled the car over in White Center and raped her.
“The suspect raped her there,” Sgt. Abbott explained. “Then after he raped her, he got her address and drove her to her house.”
Surveillance video from the victim’s home shows the fake ride-share driver dropping her off at the door.
“As you can see from the video, he goes up to the door with the female, she’s looking around for her keys he actually has her keys in his pocket, so he unlocks her door and a short time later he hands her cell phone back that he also had in his pocket” Sgt. Abbot said.
For ride share users like Un Jung, who is visiting Seattle from Arkansas, people getting into the wrong ride share vehicle is something she’s very familiar with.
“I called an Uber yesterday at the airport and another person tried to take my Uber,” said Jung.
But detectives say getting into the wrong vehicle when trying to use a ride share service can be a costly mistake. Which is why users are advised to follow these safety tips:
- Check to make sure the vehicle’s license plate matches the driver’s information provided in your app
- Make sure the driver’s photo, name, the vehicle make/model match information provided in your app
- Ask the driver to tell you your name (they will have this information in their app)
Police say users should ask your driver for this information before you get into the vehicle.
“There’s been other instances where child lock safety has been on in the backseat, so something horrible might happen and the victim can’t get out,” Sgt. Abbott says.
If a friend orders your ride share like in this case, get them to send you the driver’s information so you don’t end up taking a ride with the wrong person.
“Still take that extra safeguard to make sure that you’re paying attention to the person you’re looking for and the vehicle you’re supposed to get into,” said Sgt. Abbott. “Because it appears we have some people preying on innocent people.”
Sgt. Abbott says their person of interest was possibly driving a black Dodge Charger the night of the crime. If you have any information call Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS or text the P3Tips app. You could be eligible for a reward.